I LOVE GEORGE W. BUSH. I worship the man. I wake up every morning glad he is president. When annoyed by small things--traffic, the weather, an overcharge--I say to myself, "President Bush," and at once feel better. I like his worldview. I like his dogs and his wife and his mother. I think he looks cool in his shorts and his t-shirts. But it isn't these things that make my heart flutter: It's that he drives the people I hate the most nuts.
The Germans created the word schadenfreude to describe the pleasure one might feel at the woes of one's allies, but no one has yet coined a word for the happiness that can come to a person when those who annoy him complain. Open the paper, and there they all are: the hard-faced women who refer to abortion as "choice," the soft-faced male writers who look a little too pampered, the actors, the artists, the faculty hotshots, the with-it, the urbane and the urban, the concerned, the refined, the sincere.
They are enraged that someone unlike them has power; enraged because they think he is dumb, and he always outsmarts them; enraged that he pushed back when the Democrats, backed all the way by the Supreme Court of Florida, flooded the state with lawyers after the 2000 election, armed with game plans to subvert the result.
Above all, they are enraged that they can't sell their wrath to the rest of the country, which calmly remains unenraged. So, they write the same book over and over (and buy it in job lots), write the same pieces over and over, and post the same things on the web. I read them all.
And in them I find a perverse satisfaction. If, as Churchill maintains, it is exhilarating to be shot at and missed, it is also enlivening to have your opponent empty both barrels, to more or less meager effect. I read Sidney Blumenthal's mournful account of the Florida recount. I read junior writers at policy journals proclaim with no proof they are smarter than Bush is. I read them all, and I wickedly grin.
I grin because I have been once where they are, and have stood in their sandals myself. Liberals insist Bush exists in their minds as a vast malign presence, a huge psychic drag on their consciousness. I know, I know--I felt exactly the same way about Clinton, back in l999. Shortly later, I was told by a dentist that during the eight year reign of the Clintons, I had been grinding my molars to dust. "I've been grinding my teeth less since Clinton left office," I said, thinking he'd think it was funny. He didn't. His office is on Capitol Hill, and his practice is filled with political people, all gnashing their teeth in a frenzy of outrage.
It's your turn, now, fellas. Grind on!
Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.